Chiefs leave points on field in potentially crushing loss to Titans

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs had the ball inside Tennessee's 10-yard line twice in the final three quarters. That they came away with zero points in both situations speaks to what could be a fatal flaw for the 2016 Chiefs.

They leave too many points on the field. Their failure to put away the Titans after taking a two-touchdown lead in the first quarter was the biggest reason for their 19-17 loss.

It could be the reason they fail to win the AFC West or get a bye in the first round of the playoffs. The Chiefs (10-4) are looking at such a fate after failing to put away the Titans.

The Chiefs had the same issue in a recent loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; in that game, quarterback Alex Smith threw a fourth-quarter interception with the Chiefs in easy field goal range.

That happened again in the third quarter Sunday, when Smith forced a pass to receiver Jeremy Maclin in the end zone that was intercepted by Titans cornerback LeShaun Sims.

Smith acknowledged it was the same issue that caused the Tampa Bay interception: He forced a throw rather than get rid of the ball.

"Mac had the one-on-one," Smith said. “Just throwing it late, forcing it, trying to push it in the end zone. Looking back at it on the sideline, [Chiefs tight end Travis] Kelce did a great job of winning underneath. There might have been a chance he catches it and runs it in."

Smith, though, didn't agree that the Chiefs got conservative in the second half, even though they failed to score offensively for the third straight game.

"It’s easy to say when things don’t go well," Smith said. "Certainly, we weren’t in a rhythm. We didn’t get anything going. We got pretty stagnant in the second half.

"These are all huge games. The littlest things make big differences."

The Chiefs also failed to score on two Spencer Ware runs from the 1-yard line in the second quarter.

The Chiefs lost the game on Ryan Succop's 53-yard field goal as time expired. Succop, a former Chiefs kicker, failed on his first try, the one that didn't count because the Chiefs called a timeout in an effort to ice him.